North Burial Ground

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North Burial Ground
North Burial Ground.entry.20110721.jpg
Entry marker to North Burial Ground
Location Providence, Rhode Island
Built 1700
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference #


Added to NRHP September 13, 1977
Mowry Tavern (now demolished), a stone-ender on Abbott St., as it looked in ca. 1885, with the Cemetery behind it

The North Burial Ground is a 110-acre (0.45 km2) cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island, dating to 1700. It was the first public cemetery in Providence.[2] It is located north of downtown Providence, bounded by North Main Street, Branch Street, the Moshassuck River, and Cemetery Street. Its main entrance is at the junction of Branch and North Main. The burial ground is one of the larger municipal cemeteries in Southern New England, at 150 acres. It accepts 220 to 225 burials per year.[3]


From the time of its founding by Roger Williams in 1636, Rhode Island had strict separation of religious and government institutions. Therefore, Providence had no state churches with adjacent public burial grounds, as most New England towns had. Instead, townspeople buried their dead in family plots on individual farms. [3]

In 1700, a town vote was held to establish a municipal cemetery. This cemetery was to be open to the deceased of all faiths, from millionaires to paupers, and even emancipated slaves. 45 acres were set aside; 10 acres were to be used for a cemetery, the remainder for a town common and militia training ground. However, the first official burial didn't take place until one Samuel Whipple was buried here in 1711. There were only about one or two burials per year until 1736, when 14 people were buried.[3]

By the mid-1800s, under the influence of the Rural Cemetery Movement, cemeteries generally became viewed as a place for the general public to enjoy refined outdoor recreation. In Providence, the North Burial Ground was further landscaped. More land was added, along with curving roads and trees, to make the grounds more attractive to the living.[3]

Notable interments[edit]

North Burial Ground has the burials of many notable Rhode Island residents, including governors, members of Congress, soldiers, millionaires, emancipated slaves, and literary figures:


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b c d Rogak, Lisa (2004). Stones and Bones of New England: A Guide to Unusual, Historic, and Otherwise Notable Cemeteries. Globe Pequot. p. 159. 
  3. ^ a b c d Hill, John (24 Jan 2015). "Providence’s North Burial Ground is running out of room". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "ALLEN, Philip, (1785 - 1865)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  5. ^ Perry, Amos (1883). Memorial of Zachariah Allen: 1795-1882. J. Wilson and son. p. 52. 
  6. ^ Stephen Hopkins at Find a Grave

Further reading[edit]

  • "The Early Records of the Town of Providence, Volume 18" by Snow & Farnham Company, 1904.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°50′34″N 71°24′29″W / 41.84278°N 71.40806°W / 41.84278; -71.40806